A New Pink Flowered Annabelle Hydrangea

Until now, the quest for a pink ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea was just a dream. Today the dream is a reality; introducing Invincibelle™ Spirit Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'NCSUHA1" ppaf, cbraf, pbraf), the first ever pink flowered Hydrangea arborescens with a mop-head flowers.

Sold by the millions, ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea is the most recognized and best selling hydrangea in the world. It is iron clad, blooms reliably and can be grown from Mobile to Manitoba. It is adaptable to many soil types and can be grown in full sun to fairly heavy shade. Pruning and care is a no-brainer. The only drawback - until now it only came in white. Everyone has been waiting for pink and now we have it!

Invincibelle™ Spirit hydrangea is the result of years of research, breeding and was developedment by Dr. Tom Ranney and his crew at North Carolina State University, Mountain Horticultural Crop Research Extension Center. This is a major plant breeding breakthrough! The flowers emerge a dark, hot pink color and mature to a rich clear pink. Soil pH does not influence the flower color. This plant will always have pink flowers regardless of the soil type.
And if that was not enough, Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea is continuous blooming! It continues to produces new flowers right up until frost. In fact, a single plant can produce 100 or more corymbs (flower heads) over the course of a summer.

Invincibelle Spirit Hydrnagea will be available at retail under the Proven Winners® ColorChoice® brand in spring of 2010. In addition the plant will help in the fight against breast cancer. Proven Winners will donate $1.00 from each purchase to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® BCRF is dedicated to preventing breast cancer and finding a cure in our lifetime by funding clinical and translational research worldwide. (For more about BCRF, visit http://www.bcrfcure.org/part_corp_provenwinners.html

This new plant is useful as a specimen, mass planting or incorporated into perennial gardens or into a woodland setting. The blooms are extremely attractive both in the landscape and as a cut flower. It is a durable choice for both fresh and dried arrangements.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 3-9 (perennial in zone 3)

Bloom time: Late May early June (earlier under poly). Reblooms until to frost.

Bud set: Blooms on new wood so it will flower ever year!

Bloom color: The flowers emerge a dark, hot pink color and mature to bright pink.

Quantity of blooms: Often 100 or more corymbs per plant over the summer

Branching habit: Freely branching with as many as 100 or more terminal shoots per plant.

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Growth rate: Moderate to Fast

Soil: Very adaptable, but proliferates in rich, well drained, moist soil. It is pH adaptable. Soil pH does not effect the flower color.

Pruning: In late fall or early spring. Blooms on new wood and tolerates being cut back to the ground.

Watering: If planted in full sun, sufficient moisture is needed. It will require additional watering on hot dry summer days until established. In South, should be planted in partial shade.

Wildlife: Habitat for songbirds and butterflies.

Native: Eastern United States. Florida to Maine. Kansas to Eastern Seaboard.

Type: Deciduous

Fertilizing: Fertilize in early spring by applying a slow release fertilizer specialized for trees & shrubs. Follow the label for recommended rate of application.

Uses: Groupings or masses, perennial or shrub borders, specimen, winter gardens.

Breeder: Dr. Thomas Ranney, NCSU. Mountain Horticultural Crop Research and Extension Center. Fletcher, North Carolina.